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Kites, Scouts, & Killer Trees: Today, February 8th

February 8 is National Kite Flying Day

Go fly a kite! National Kite Flying Day is celebrated every February 8th, which seems to me to be a few weeks early. But today it is, so head on out there and fly! Kites date back to 470 BC and were first introduced in China. Writings from the time show kites were used for recreation, art, sending messages, and even spying on enemies. There is evidence that kites were also used in the South Sea Islands for fishing around the same time period.

If today does indeed prove to be too cold for you, or you are like most of us and have to spend Thursdays at work, we at TheBayNet.com would like to remind you that the BEST day for kite flying in Southern Maryland this year will be Saturday March 17, 2018, at the Fly4aCure event at the St. Mary’s Fairgrounds.

The Southern Maryland Kite Festival promises to be a fun filled event with beautiful colorful kites filling the skies. Plenty of demonstrations, and local NFL player Robert McClain will be there to sign autographs and participate in the day’s fun. This is a great event and the proceeds will benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so come on out and bring the whole family.
For more information about Fly4aCure, watch the video below.

Click here to visit the Fly4aCure page on TheBayNet.

Click Here to make a donation


Click Here to visit the official Fly4aCure website.

Today in history: February 8, 1910: The Boy Scouts of America are formed.

At the turn of the last century, there was a migration of people from the countryside into the cities and outlying urban areas.  There were concerns among some people that young men were no longer learning patriotism and individualism. The YMCA was an early promoter of reforms for young men with a focus on social welfare and programs of mental, physical, social and religious development.

The Boy Scouts had two predecessors that endeavoured to teach boys the ways of self reliance that had begun to fade with the progress towards cities. The first was the Woodcraft Indians, a club for boys in Connecticut that was founded in 1902. The next was The Sons of Daniel Boone, founded in Cincinnati Ohio in 1905. In 1908 a man named Robert Seton-Powell incorporated the scouting movement in England.

In 1909, Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce was visiting London, and found himself lost on a foggy street when a young boy came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. The boy then refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn. This young man became known as the Unknown Scout. Interested in the Boy Scouts, Boyce met with staff at the Boy Scouts Headquarters, and with Robert Seton-Powell.

Upon his return to the US, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. Former president Theodore Roosevelt, who had long complained of the decline in American manhood, became an ardent supporter. In January 1911, Robinson turned the movement over to James E. West who became the first Chief Scout Executive and Scouting began to expand in the US.
The BSA's stated purpose at its incorporation in 1910 was "to teach boys patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values."
The BSA has kept to that goal by training youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to instill typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills, through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics, and hiking.
The traditional Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for boys ages 6 to 11 years, Boy Scouting for boys ages 11 to 18, and Venturing for young men and women ages 14 (or 13 and having completed the 8th grade) through 21. Learning for Life is a non-traditional affiliate that provides in-school and career education. Starting in 2018, girls will be allowed to join Cub Scout dens, and in 2019, a Scouting program for older girls will allow for a path to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
The BSA operates traditional Scouting by chartering local organizations, such as churches, clubs, civic associations, or educational organization, to implement the Scouting program for youth within their communities. Units are led entirely by volunteers appointed by the chartering organization.

Neat Fact: The World’s Deadliest Tree

The Manchineel Tree grows in northern South America, Central America, The Caribbean, and Florida in the United States. It grows on beaches and is sometimes known as the Beach Apple, and it grows in coastal mangroves here it can reach up to 50’ tall. The Manchioneel produces leaves that resemble an apple tree, clusters of spiky flowers and small fruits that look a bit like small green apples. The official name for this tree in Spanish is manzanilla de la muerte, "little apple of death", so don’t eat any.

Every bit of the tree contains powerful toxins, some still unidentified. The milky white sap is everywhere on the tree in the bark, on the leaves, and even touching the tree will cause severe reactions. Manchineel sap produces powerful skin irritants and will cause a strong allergic reaction. Standing beneath the tree when it rains is a nightmare, because even a small exposure to the raindrops as they drip from the leaves will cause the skin to blister on contact. This will also damage the paint on cars, and if you burn a manchineel tree, the smoke can cause blindness.

Native Caribbean islanders were known to use manchineel leaves to poison the water supply of their enemies, and an arrow tipped with manchineel sap is rumored to have killed explorer Ponce de Leon.

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